Best practices for working with immigrants

Here are some tips for success in managing seasonal workers:

  1. Recognize the special needs of seasonal workers. Large landscaping companies have this down cold. They offer affordable housing for their workers—realizing that many of them want to conserve their earnings to send home. The landscapers often pay a little bit over the market wage and even arrange transportation to and from the job—realizing that the word will get out back home so they might bring their cousins.
  2. On the topic of sending money back home, some companies use payroll cards, which may allow immigrant workers to bypass expensive check cashing services and send money home by calling toll-free numbers staffed by bilingual operators.
  3. Speak – and teach – the language. Increasingly, America is becoming a multi-lingual country. For many club members and club employees, English is a second language. It demonstrates respect – and is just good business practice – for the owner, general manager, superintendent and other key employees to develop the ability to converse in Spanish or other languages spoken by its immigrant workers. Another practice gaining currency in the hotel and restaurant industry is daily or weekly English classes for seasonal workers, focusing on words and phrases used in the workplace.
  4. Keep in mind that respect for who and what we are means a lot to everyone, not just immigrants. Understand and respect the customs and understand the ways in whichyour immigrant employees present and receive information and they’ll respect you – and perform better in return.

Source: Club Management, August 2005; Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

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